Typhoid fever is an infective illness caused by a bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S.typhi).  There is another illness, Paratyphoid fever, caused by Salmonella paratyphi A, B and C. Together, they are referred to as ENTERIC FEVER. However, paratyphoid fever is usually milder.

Both are spread via contaminated food and/or water.

The period between infection and manifestation of symptoms is 10 to 14 days

S.typhi can survive in water for 7 days, in sewage for 14days, and in ice cream for 1 month.

It affects all age groups, male and female alike.

Humans are the only reservoir of infection.

Some people are CARRIERS of the infection and shed the organism in their faeces and/ or urine. The organism hides in their gall bladder and is “discharged” intermittently.

How does one get infected?

  • Contaminated food, directly by a “carrier” food handler
  • Contaminated water : from a polluted water source, or that contaminated by faeces
  • Milk – borne: either by direct contamination via a carrier or from utensils
  • Ice – cream: directly contaminated via a carrier
  • Vegetables and salads, especially if grown with human faeces as manure
  • Flies


First week:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body pains
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and stooling in children

By the end of second week, complications may set in such as:

  • Perforation of the intestine
  • Meningitis
  • Kidney infection
  • Arthritis

Important laboratory tests

First week

  • White cell count
  • Blood culture

Second week

  • Stool and urine culture

WIDAL REACTION IS NOT A RELIABLE TEST FOR DIAGNOSIS and should be interpreted with caution especially in those who have been vaccinated.


  • Sanitary disposal of faeces
  • Water purification
  • Good personal hygiene
  • Hand washing
  • Vaccination

After treatment, stool and urine samples  should be negative for the bacteria on 3 occasions carried out at minimum of 48hrs interval.

Ignorance can kill. Stay informed, stay healthy.

Got questions? Consult DoctorKK right here.

Related Posts

Search stories by typing keyword and hit enter to begin searching.